The London Studio of HASSELL, working with Arup, has been appointed by Tbilisi City Hall to carry out the concept design of the new Tbilisi Zoo on the outskirts of the Georgian capital city. The project will see the existing city centre zoo replaced by a zoological and recreation complex adjacent to the inland lake known as Tbilisi Sea.
Working with Arup’s Dublin office, HASSELL has developed a concept that sits lightly within the spectacular new site, using a design strategy of minimal disturbance to preserve the area’s natural beauty. Relocating the current zoo’s species and activities calls for a number of new buildings and landscapes. These will include an entrance hub, boulevard, a secondary hub with playground and café, inner zoo and an outer open range zoo as well as woodland areas set within the Soviet era Arboretum known as Dendropark National Park. A recreation area created on the shore of the Tbilisi Sea will include new buildings for an aquarium and dive school.
The plan builds upon the dramatic landscape and mountainous topography of the area to create a visitor experience unique to Georgia. The country is positioned at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and these will be represented by the division of the site into distinct grassland habitats. A choice of five different walking routes around the zoo affords a variety of visitor experiences, encouraging return visits.
The zoo will be built to world-class standards, creating an international tourist destination for zoo, safari, botanical and recreational experiences. The design will celebrate the natural history of the site and encourage visitors of all ages to take a personal interest in the importance of conserving the earth’s environmental heritage.
The project builds on HASSELL’s extensive masterplanning, landscape architecture and zoo experience in Australasia including the award-winning Adelaide Zoo, Taronga Zoo in Sydney and Werribee Open Range in Victoria.
“We believe in the collaboration of landscape architecture, masterplanning and architectural design and the new Tbilisi Zoo is a fantastic opportunity to put this philosophy into practice by developing a new zoo destination from first principles. Our team has been inspired by the beauty of the Georgian landscape to create a scheme that works in harmony with the environment, respects the animals that will inhabit it and allows people to observe them in a space akin to their natural habitat.” Jon Hazelwood, Head of Landscape Architecture at HASSELL’s London Studio
IMAGES | Courtesy of HASSELL